We live in a world that touts kindness — to animals, to young people, to individuals struggling with various sorts of super fucked up circumstances — and community support. We’re encouraged to listen, support our neighbors, give back and pay everything forward.
All that stuff is wonderful, but we must always remember that we also live in a world that’s fairly densely populated with haters — people who seek to bring others down due to discomforts or dissatisfaction in their own lives, busybodies and those who don’t understand that different choices don’t discredit their own.
In the spirit of kindness and haters, I recently came across a post from a sex worker who had been outed by a former co-worker. The advice others shared was very powerful.
Here’s the question: It would seem a former co-worker has outed me. I’m not sure what my next move should be. I’m lying low for the moment. Anyone have any experience or tips?
After establishing the outing was to friends, another sex worker had this to share:
If it is friends or family, I suggest sitting down and talking to them. They are going to be fearful for you and not understand what the work is to you. If you share your reality with them, it will be easier for them to understand you are safe and doing a good thing for yourself. But stay safe with all of this…
If it was to work or [others] outside [sex worker] professional group or something, you can actually sue for damages. I know people that have been successful at it and have gotten cease-and-desist orders from the courts.
The advice continued:
I know it is hard, but the more shame you show about it, the more they will shame you. Try to boost your confidence by getting some support and hold your head high and say “It is good for me, I enjoy what I do and what it enables me to do in my life,” and look ’em in the eye. Your true friends will respect your ability to chose; you might get a few people that come out to you, and those that walk away or chose to shame you can go fuck themselves.
I know that sounds harsh, but you can choose to be ashamed or you can choose to not be ashamed. And once you are out, the freedom you feel is amazing. No one can hold anything against you; you cannot be threatened or blackmailed. And you will find amazing community around you, people who love and respect you enough to let you live your life the way you want to.
I outed myself many years ago, both as a sex worker and as a madam. I don’t have to worry about my friends — they love me. Yes, I lost some, but the ones I still have are deeper and richer and far better for me than those [other] ones were or ever could be if they couldn’t accept my choices.
Here is a video series made by a friend after she was busted and outed in such a way that she was discussed on CNN and Howard Stern and how she coped with her arrest and outing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoP-4lgb3P8
Maybe something there will help you cope. Good luck. It could be the best thing that has happened to you ever, you never know…
“[Y]ou can choose to be ashamed or you can choose to not be ashamed. And once you are out, the freedom you feel is amazing.” This perspective and advice is very powerful. Though having the rug pulled out from under you in any instance via unexpected developments and/or human cruelty definitely can be overwhelming, the freedom from shame can be powerful and liberating.
I love this strong advice: Head up, eyes forward! It’s not to say that walking that talk won’t be hard, but it’s nice to know there are people out there who are there for you.
Got something you want to share? Tips or rage-inducing incidents other models may benefit from? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!